The Elvis Presley phenomenon refers to the social and cultural impact of American musician Elvis Presley (January 8, 1935- August 16, 1977). Presley has a large and consistent fanbase throughout the world, and has fanbases in almost every state in the United States, and in many countries around the world. His albums and films still sell relatively well, and he has become one of America's most important cultral icons as well as an extremely important influence in the musical world.
International fan baseEdit
Presley has many fans across the world, and fan clubs active in countries such as Australia and Turkey. Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (who shares a January 8 birthday with Presley) is a fan of Presley and he visited Graceland with then-President George W. Bush. Koizumi sang "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You". Koizumi said his favorite songs are "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," "Hawaiian Wedding Song," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"
Presley's legacy is such that many entertainers have made careers emulating him in voice, looks, or both. They are called Elvis Tribute Artists, or informally as Elvis impersonators. Professional Elvis impersonators highlight in Las Vegas and other areas across the United States and around the world.
Elvis impersonators are in great demand due to the iconic status of Presley, and many of these tribute acts exist. The first recorded Elvis impersonator was Jim Smith in 1956, shortly after Presley began to rise in popularity. Smith looked like and imitated Presley, but was just pretending since he could neither sing nor play the guitar. The first influential Elvis impersonator was Phil Ochs in 1970. Andy Kaufman was a significant Elvis impersonator in the mid 1970's and Presley himself said Kaufman was his favorite. While Presley was alive, impersonators largely competed in talent shows. It was after Presley's death the art grew into the industry it is today. Elvis impersonators range from professional performers to people who do it as a hobby to people who do it as part of a comedy act. There is also an Elvis Tribute Artist contest sponsored by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Sirius XM Elvis RadioEdit
With the launch of satellite radio, a channel dedicated entirely to the works of Elvis Presley was created. The 24 hour station plays his studio recordings, live performances, lost and rare studio sessions and interviews with many of Presley's former friends, acquaintances and bandmates. The station is located in Memphis across the Graceland estate. The Elvis Quiz Show is periodically hosted on the network, where fans can answer questions about Presley and his work to earn prizes.
Elvis is Alive conspiraciesEdit
Immediately after his death, people have speculated that Presley faked his death. National Enquirer published an article claiming the photo of Presley in his casket was actually taken of a double of his body. A claim to justify this belief is that Presley faked his death being tired of fame. There have also been claims of people seeing Presley, but these were most likely Elvis impersonators. While these claims are pure speculation and do not have validity, they are prominent in American popular culture.